“Tomorrow the Madrid hospitals will collapse”

Thousands of infected people are about to put health centers in check when the peak of infection in the country has not yet been reached.

Doctors in Spain portray what the situation is like in hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic, which is spreading rapidly among the population. Thousands of infected people are about to put health centers in check, when the peak of infection in the country has not yet been reached.

Jaime Masjuan, Head of the Neurology Service at the Ramón y Cajal Hospital in Madrid and one of the leading neurologists in Spain, stresses that “the epidemic has changed everything in less than 24 hours.”

The doctor relates that, from one week to the next, the hospital where he works has gone from being a normal center to a “hospital at war with a virus that changes everything”. As Masjuan says, the center has had to completely transform the structure, as well as the operation of the services. Although the most worrying part of his story is that he firmly believes that “tomorrow all the centers in Madrid will collapse. Only the EMU field hospital can save us, but what doctors and nurses are going to attend there, if they are already missing?” concludes before a query from the newspaper El Mundo.

Many hospitals are being divided into two parts, one exclusively for coronavirus sufferers and one for the rest. The Ramón y Cajal Hospital, specifically, has had to create multidisciplinary teams to treat what is two thirds of the hospital this weekend, more than 600 patients with Covid-19 disease.

And the consequences of this are that other diseases are not being treated correctly. “When we talk about the fact that this epidemic has forced the hospital to be converted overnight, we are referring to three areas: the organization of external consultations, the diagnostic area and what is the hospitalization of patients,” says Masjuan.

Other illnesses are stopped

When Masjuan is asked about the current situation of the patients for other reasons, such as cancer or strokes, the professional responds: “They are still there, but an epidemic prevents attending to the rest of the diseases and we will see the consequences. In normal circumstances, in the Stroke Unit there are 30 patients admitted and now only 10 “.

The fear of stepping on a hospital would be directly related. “We know that there will be many minor strokes that are overlooked because people don’t see for fear of stepping on a hospital and getting it. This will have long-term consequences,” adds Masjuan.

Changes in the profile of people at risk

“There are young people who are infected and develop difficult pneumonia, and even micro-strokes. We are observing it in the hospital. But let’s not forget that being three weeks alone in a room also means facing a very difficult situation psychologically. And the consequences if they are intubated, they remain in the respiratory system and at the neuromuscular level, “says Masjuan about people at risk from the epidemic. It also clarifies that 80% of those affected are chronic patients for whom the system was not prepared before.

Meanwhile, the numbers of infections and deaths are on the rise. “When it is said that we have the 20,000 cases, it is only because they have passed through the hospitals and have been treated. What happens to those who have supposed a mild process? If we add up all of them, today there would be more than a million Spaniards who are or they have been infected, “says the doctor.

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